Winning the Dating Game

You’re looking at a book for teen boys about dating and sex. You’re probably wondering what you can learn from a book like this. After all, you’ve probably seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of people kiss, date, and be sexual on-screen. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about TV, movies, or online porn, it all looks pretty straightforward. You’re probably asking yourself, “What else do I need to know?”

Terms like “having sex” and “sexing” can leave out kissing and touching.

The answer is that in real life, dating and being sexual with someone is more complicated than it appears on-screen. There, dis-agreements and difficulties are easily resolved and everyone is usually happy with the outcome; people rarely get turned down when they ask for a date, kiss, or sex; and no one discusses sexual safety, has an unplanned pregnancy, or catches a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Throughout the book, we’ll use the general term “being sex-ual” because it includes a wide range of sexual activities like kissing, touching, and sex.

If you’re a fairly typical guy—or you’ve been raised like a fairly typical guy, even if you aren’t one—then you probably haven’t been taught a lot of important things about how to get and keep a part-ner, how to be sexual with someone, and even how to think about these things. There’s also a good chance that your parents or guard-ians (aunt, uncle, grandparents, etc.) have not had “The Sex Talk” with you.

Or maybe they’ve just given you this book and told you to let them know if you have questions. (The book is good, but there are some things you’ll need to hear from your parents or guardians.) Even if the adults in your life haven’t said anything, you’ve probably heard about dating and being sexual from other teens and you’ve certainly seen it on-screen.

So, what’s in the book? It’s got a lot of information to help you think about what different parts of dating and sexuality look like and what they might mean to you, your partner, and other people around you. The Frequently Asked Questions following this intro-duction will give you answers to some common questions guys like you have.

Each chapter contains graphics that show statistics, facts, and important points in an easy-to-understand handy format. You’ll also see sidebars with extra info, examples, and related points. Some chapters include a series of questions you can answer in order to help you understand yourself, while other chapters end by discuss-ing two or three different answers to the question “what do guys typically do?”

The first section talks about relationships. Mostly dating, but there’s some discussion of hookups, especially in Chapter1. Chap-ter2 focuses on starting a relationship: how to figure out who you want to be in a relationship with, how to ask that person out, and what to do if that person says yes or no or something else (and how to figure out what that something else means). We’ll also talk about what to do if someone asks you out.

Talks about how to keep a relationship going and strong. It’s more complicated than you think, in part because unlike the rules of sports or video games, the rules of a relationship can change during the relationship. It’s also complicated because even though you know things like trust are important, you probably haven’t had many conversations about deciding how much to trust someone.

In Chapter4, we’ll talk about how your reputation—both the reputation you have and the reputation you want—might influence your decisions about whom to date and be sexual with, and when. We’ll discuss pleasure and sexual behavior in the second section of the book. We’ll begin with consent in Chapter5. You wouldn’t want someone to be sexual with your body without your permission—and you do have the ability, and the right, to say no. Likewise, you should never be sexual with someone else’s body without their permission.

We’ll talk about sexual activities you can do alone, includ-ing why, how-to, and what to beware of. Then, we’ll discuss sexual activities with a partner, and again talk about why and how-to. In Chapter8, the discussion shifts to being safe, including how to protect yourself, your partner, and your future. Kids are cute, but you probably do not want to be a teen father. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and diseases are probably also on the list of things you don’t want. We’ll finish off this section by talking about gender roles and sexual orientation, as well as their connections to identities and stereotypes, in Chapter9. Again, each chapterwill help you figure out where you stand and what you want to do.